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The wines and food from Italian Night!

We had a few friends over this weekend for an Italian themed dinner.  Food and wine were in abundance, and a good time was had by all.  I won’t spend too much time on the food, but it consisted of a nice antipasti with Parma ham, sopresseta, salami, mozzarella and arrugula; a seafood bouillabaisse (which was really more Portugese in inspiration but delicious); some pork and beef meatballs in a puttanesca sauce with angel hair; a really good rigatoni and cheese bake and tiramisu for dessert.  Very nice and way too much, so we’ll be eating leftovers for a few days, in fact probably right into Thanksgiving.

The wines were equally as good.  Here is the originally planned lineup (from right to left):

2010 San Paolo Fiano di AvellinoCIMG2179

2011 Benventano Falanghina

2001 Marchese di Villamarina Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 San Filippo Le Lucere Brunello di Montalcino

2004 Travaglini Gattinara Riserva

2006 Falesco Pomele

Chamard Chardonnay Port

Dianond Hill Vineyards Blackberry Wine

We had a few dessert wines to choose from.  We also had a few wines in backup just in case.  Eventually we opened up the Villamarina, the Gattinara, the Falanghina, a 2006 Castello di Cacchiano Chianti Classico (brought by one of the guests) and the Pomele.  Later that evening we also popped a 2007 Ruffino Modus, which received 96 points from Wine Spectator (we don’t know why but more on that later).

The Marchesi di Villamarina we opened with the antipasti.  This is our last bottle of the 2001 and it was time, as the wine had lost some of it’s power but was still a beautiful, elegant and seamless cabernet with mature fruit flavors and nice CIMG2188length.  It went very well with the antipasti of cured meats and cheese.  The Gattinara was in the decanter while we enjoyed the bouillabaisse with the Falanghina.  Falanghina can make some wonderful food wines, with structure and body and which stand up very nicely to spicy foods.  I could see this wine with Spanish or Mexican food as well.  The Gattinara made it’s way into the glasses and also worked with the seafood, just not quite as nicely as the white did.  When the meatballs, pasta and cheese rigatoni hit the table the Gattinara was in fine form and the Chianti was added to the party.  They were both very good, but I would say the Gattinara was actually outstanding.  This wine was sublimely elegant with complex flavors and just smooth as silk.  It reminded me of an excellent Barbaresco, which is, of course, it’s close cousin.

Dessert brought the Tiramisu and the Pomele, which had me a little worried as I wasn’t quite sure if it would be past its prime.  Fortunately it was delicious and not ready for the old wine home just yet.

A note on the Modus: this was nowhere near a 96 point wine.  We’re not sure what the Wine Spectator tasters saw in it, but it was somewhat rustic and brooding, with heavy dark fruit and tannins that seemed to be fighting within a loose structure that just didn’t work very well.  While we don’t give wines numerical scores, I wouldn’t rate it higher than 86-87.  This was certainly not a “classic” wine.  But, that is part of the beauty of wine, everyone has a different opinion.

The dinner wound through the better part of three hours, and we had some espresso to finish it up with.  This was an excellent meal with good company and some outstanding wine.  We couldn’t do this every night, as we would weigh twice as much as we do and our livers might be screaming, but once in a while why not?  Next time we’ll pick another country and take a vinicultural tour somewhere else.  Italy was fun.

A votre sante!

 

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